Law enforcement agencies filed federal charges last week against 22 Florida store owners in connection with schemes to illegally redeem food-stamp benefits for cash.
The defendants fraudulently obtained more than $13 million dollars in EBT deposits for transactions in which the stores did not provide food.
That is about a half million dollars per store!
And most of the business were tiny food stands, produce stands and “flea-market” retailers. One of the 22, ABC Food Market in Miami—is a convenience store owned by Zulfiqar Mithavayani. Since March 2013, Mithavayani and associate Jamal Al-Hawa allegedly redeemed and caused to be redeemed more than $1.1 million in EBT food-stamp benefits, more than $1 million more than the average law abiding convenience store in Florida during this period, according to the indictment.
But it is only the very tip of the tip of the iceberg. Twenty-two stores in one small part of Florida. Multiply that by every sleazy convenience store in every city in every state in the USA and pretty soon you are talking about real money.